What is Web 2.0?

I’ve often been asked the question ‘What is Web 2.0’? Normally it’s followed quickly by the question ‘how do I make money out of it?’ Recently I’ve been thinking that Web 1.5 might be a better term (as it is an upgrade to the web , with a mix of shiny new and old but reliable techniques).

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While there are many sites jumping on the Bandwagon and claiming the Web 2.0 Title, Tim Ziegler writing on Webmonkey gives a very good summary of what most Web 2.0 sites have in common. As always, you’ll be able to find true Web 2.0 companies that break these ‘rules’ , but it’s as good a place to start as any.

In Summary, Web 2.0 Sites / Companies / Products tend to:

  • Build on the notion of ‘the long tail’ where niche demand meets niche supply , a cost-effective and profitable market due to lower transaction / search costs on the Web.
  • Web as a platform. It doesn’t matter where you are , or what computing you use. As long as you have a web browser you can use these products.
  • Ajax , a technique that combines the power to traditional Desktop Applications (like Word and Excel) , with the ‘use anywhere-ness’ of web pages.
  • Smart Content Management. Create and publish a web page as easily as a Word Document. Forget needing to know FTP , HTML , CSS and other low level tools of a previous generation.
  • Dashboard Views. Because Web pages are published in Machine as well as Human Readable format, it is easy to create summary, Dashboard views.
  • Give it away to get more back
  • . It is alleged that in earlier days Microsoft was more willing to tolerate piracy of it’s office suite in order to get ‘critical mass’ – missing out on revenue initially, but growing the cake substantially in the process by becoming the de-facto standard. It may have worked for them but ‘give your product away to get a core of paying users’ won’t impress too many VC’s.

  • Human Filters or Trust your users. Also known as ‘Many hands make light work’.
  • Iterations , or many small releases (easy because the software runs in only one place) is better than one big bang.
  • Simple is good. Forget feature overload – think iPod.

So that answers the ‘What is Web 2.0’ Question. Up to you to find out how to make money out of it.

More Web 2.0 Posts here.

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